15:03 GMT +318 March 2018
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    A member of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) looks out into the waters, onboard a C-130 Hercules, during a Search and Locate operation for the missing AirAsia QZ8501 aircraft over an undisclosed search area December 29, 2014

    18,000 Soldiers in Singapore to Undergo Counter-Terrorism Training Yearly

    © REUTERS/ Lianhe Zaobao/Singapore Press Holdings
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    Defence Minister of Singapore Ng Eng Hen said Tuesday that some 18,000 full-time and operationally ready national servicemen will be receiving counter-terrorism training annually, starting July.

    The move is part of broader changes to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in response to the disturbing increase in terrorism across the globe and specifically in proximity to Singapore, the minister said in an interview marking SAF Day.

    The troops will be trained at the country's new Island Defence Training Institute (IDTI) which opens next month in Clementi Camp. They will learn about the legal powers and rights of private defense, be taught search and arrest procedures, and be given specific physical training, such as in using retractable truncheons.

    The training will enable national servicemen to be deployed for homeland security operations.

    Citing the 2008 Mumbai attacks, when militants entered the Indian city by sea, as well as the 9/11 tragedy, Ng added that the SAF will also boost its ability to tackle sea and airborne terror attacks.

    On the maritime front, the Singapore Navy will be deploying more unmanned assets and tapping more effective data analytics to enhance security.

    The Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is adopting more advanced weaponry, including replacing its I-Hawk surface-to-air missile systems with the Aster-30 Missile System that is able to intercept air threats up to 70km away.

    Ng stressed in an interview that Singapore has to be prepared for terrorism now that it is an "endemic" problem, with fighters skilled in bomb making and hijacking migrating or returning from the war-torn Middle East. He pointed to the situation in Marawi, a city in the Philippines recently taken over by a large group of Daesh-linked militants.

    "The reorganization occurs against the backdrop of changing assumptions… that attacks that could occur in Singapore may increase in scale, frequency and impact," the minister said, as cited by Channel NewsAsia.

    "It's a sobering change of assumptions, but I think we better change to meet a heightened need, rather than be caught with inadequate resources."


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